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GEM’s Gems December 2013 – Steven Thompson

December 1, 2013

The Global Energy Management Program is honoring alumnus Steven Thompson as the December GEM’s Gem. Thompson, 38, works as a Landman at Marathon Oil Company.

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“My ability to research and understand complex energy issues in policy, economics, science, and law grew significantly as a result of the (GEM) curriculum,” Thompson said. “Quite often, I was able to apply what I learned in class to my work the very next day. GEM made me better at my job, which led to a promotion less than a year into the program.”

Thompson is also thankful for the lifelong friendships and professional contacts he has made during GEM’s cohort weekends.

“The opportunity for in-person interaction with my classmates sets GEM apart from other distance degrees,” he said. “Cohort weekends are busy. However, we enjoyed doing things together around Denver during the evenings. We attended Nuggets games, ate great meals downtown & in other neighborhoods, and went to great clubs.”

Briefly describe your current role and responsibilities.

I work on the development team for the Woodford Shale, a liquids-rich unconventional shale formation in Oklahoma. I am responsible for the comprehensive land cycle in a specific prospect area southeast of Oklahoma City in Grady and Stephens Counties. I work on or direct efforts related to acreage acquisition, broker management, title research and verification, well site planning, surface use, Oklahoma Corporation Commission application and testimony, division order, production leasehold management, and divestiture. My job is heavy on contract negotiation and developing key relationships with business partners. My primary function is to ensure the development of company operated drilling and spacing units so that the rigs can keep moving.

How has the GEM program benefited you?

Unlike a traditional MBA, each GEM class focuses specifically on the energy industry. My company does not have a policy where graduate degrees equal an automatic promotion. Career advancement depends less on credentials and more on competence, personality, and ethics. Every single class is built on one or more of these areas. GEM requires an incredible commitment to comprehending and analyzing the highest level of academic and professional publications on topics relevant to the present day energy industry. My ability to research and understand complex energy issues in policy, economics, science, and law grew significantly as a result of the curriculum. Quite often, I was able to apply what I learned in class to my work the very next day. GEM made me better at my job, which led to a promotion less than a year into the program.

What were some of your favorite things to do during cohort weekends?

I developed lifelong friendships and professional contacts as a result of the cohort weekends. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to pursue a hybrid program rather than a 100 percent online MBA. The opportunity for in-person interaction with my classmates sets GEM apart from other distance degrees. Cohort weekends are busy. However, we enjoyed doing things together around Denver during the evenings.  We attended Nuggets games, ate great meals downtown & in other neighborhoods, and went to great clubs.

What are some of the things that you never forgot to bring to cohort weekends?

Business cards, a laptop, a swimsuit, and workout clothes. The hotel has a great fitness center and pool.

Please share a story about GEM that will entertain other students.
Don’t think that GEM students can’t take over a dance floor, especially if house music is involved.

Why did you choose the GEM program at CU Denver?

I started looking at online MBAs in early 2010 and found the GEM program. At that time, GEM was still in its infancy having just graduated the initial cohort. I limited my search to AACSB accredited schools to ensure that any degree I might pursue would be fully regarded by Fortune 500 companies.  I ultimately chose GEM for its energy focus, travel proximity, and academic credibility.

Has GEM changed your perspective? If so, how so?

With my work experience being limited to oil and gas exploration, GEM allowed me to broaden my horizons to other facets of the energy mix. Matthew’s class on 21st Century Global Energy and Herb’s class on Energy Policy opened my eyes to economic, technological, and legislative challenges for all energy sources, whether fossil or renewable.  Examining other energy industries, especially coal, nuclear, and wind, gave me new perspective on many of the issues facing the oil and gas industry. We all face challenges in one-way or another.

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